Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei (27)


The Latest from Iran (2 January): The Currency is Falling

See also Iran Audio Feature: Scott Lucas with the BBC "The Economy is More Important than the Missile Tests"
Iran Feature: Stumbling and Stalemate over Sanctions
The Latest from Iran (1 January): Let the Campaigning (and In-Fighting) Begin....

Cartoon: Nikahang Kowsar2045 GMT: Currency Watch. Prominent conservative Habiballah Asgaroladi has warned that Iranian industry "cannot continue to exist" with the rial at today's level above 17000:1 vs. the US dollar.

2040 GMT: Reformist Watch. Rasoul Montajabnia, the deputy head of the Etemade Melli Party, has declared that damaging former Presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami will damage the system and Revolution.

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The Latest from Iran (19 December): And Now A Spy Story....

Iranian State TV's presentation of the US "spy", Amir Mirzaei Hekmati

See also Iran Special: The Battle Within --- Ahmadinejad v. Rafsanjani in 5 Scenes
The Latest from Iran (18 December): Ahmadinejad Throws Down Another Challenge

2125 GMT: Spy Watch. The father of Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the Iranian-American accused by Tehran of espionage (see 0725 GMT), has said the allegation is "absolutely, positively" wrong: "My son is no spy. He is innocent. He's a good fellow, a good citizen, a good man. These are all unfounded allegations and a bunch of lies."

Ali Hekmati said his son did join the military in 2001 --- as the Iranians claimed --- but served the U.S. Marines, not the Army, and worked in linguistics as an Arabic translator, not in military intelligence. He added that Amir Hekmati never did any intelligence work for the Pentagon or the CIA and that, after the military, he went to work for a private security contractor.

The Hekmati fmaily first reported Amir's arrest in September. Ali Hekmati said that he had not been able to see his son, who was only allowed a couple visits by his Iranian grandmothers and who has not been provided a lawyer. US officials have requested access but have yet to received approval.

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The Latest from Iran (9 November): Nuclear Sideshow and Political Main Event

See also Iran Analysis: The IAEA Nuclear Report --- Everyone's a Winner!
Iran Special Analysis (Part 1): The Nuclear Report --- "May" Is Not "Definitely"
Iran Snap Analysis: The IAEA Nuclear Report --- Serious, But Not That Serious....
Iran Special: "Activities Relevant to the Development of a Nuclear Explosive Device" --- Text of IAEA Report
Iran Opinion: It's Not Nukes, It's Not The Plot....It's Human Rights
The Latest from Iran (8 November): That Ahmadinejad Speech....

2100 GMT: At the Movies. Reza Allamehzadeh has directed a new film, "The Iranian Taboo", about persecution of members of the Baha'i faith.

1730 GMT: Nuke Watch. Weakest reporting today on the IAEA report on Iran's nuclear programme?

Well, The New York Times tries hard to claim the award. The headline is straightforward, "Iran Escalates Anti-U.S. Rhetoric Over Nuclear Report", but the Times slaps on a psychological evaluation that "Iran’s leaders [are] clearly worried that the long-awaited report, released Tuesday by the International Atomic Energy Agency, could sway world opinion and deepen Iran’s isolation".

As for the report, there is absolutely no consideration of it apart from the dubious assurance that it is "buttressed by voluminous evidence not previously disclosed" --- most of the information has been put out in previous IAEA reports or in "leaks" from officials --- and that it "concluded that Iran had been secretly engaged in behaviors that suggested it was seeking to construct a nuclear weapon" and "also asserted that Iran may be researching ways to deliver a nuclear weapon via a missile warhead".

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The Latest from Iran (29 October): The Economy, Propaganda, and the IMF

See also The Latest from Iran (28 October): "Our Prisons Are Full"

1720 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalists Ali Akrami, Mehdi Afsharnik, Mohammad Heydari, and Mohsen Hakimi have been released on bail.

The reporters were detained during a regime crackdown last month on the Freedom Movement of Iran.

1715 GMT: Parliament v. President. The New York Times has now joined the flutter, started by a speech of the Supreme Leader last week, that Iran might replace an elected President with a Prime Minister chosen by Parliament.

Meanwhile, Aty News --- close to Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf --- quotes MP Mohammad Dehghan that there will be no more Presidential elections.

On another front, Khabar Online, linked to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, suggested that there may be a move this week towards interrogation of the President, as the number of MPs demanding the session is on the rise.

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The Latest from Iran (28 October): "Our Prisons Are Full"

1854 GMT: James Miller takes the liveblog.

Reuters is reporting that three separate explosions have rocked Iran's oil and gas industry, though the government is stating that they are unrelated:

The fatal incident at the oil field at Bibi Hakimeh near the Gulf occurred during drilling, when workers unexpectedly encountered an "enormous volume of unknown accumulated gas" in the layers of a reservoir, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported. Three people were injured.

Mehr also reported a separate blast at the Shazand oil refinery in central Iran, but the plant's managing director later told state radio the incident had been exaggerated.

"Nothing special has happened there. There was no fire at all," Majid Rajabi said. "The refinery is functioning normally."

The third blast happened on a 26-inch pipeline carrying gas to an oilfield in Gachsaran in south-western Iran later on Friday, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Even if the blasts turn out to be unrelated, in the direct sense, this will raise serious concerns about the safety of Iran's infrastructure, especially in light of the explosion at the Abadan refinery in May while Ahmadinejad was at the plant.

1810 GMT: Deviant Current Watch. Ali Rezaei, Friday Prayer leader in Birjand and a representative of the Supreme Leader, has said he did not participate in a provincial government meeting because members of the "deviant current" were present.

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The Latest from Iran (25 October): No Gratitude for CNN

See also Iran Video Interview: Ahmadinejad Puts Out His Standard Lines to CNN's Zakaria
The Latest from Iran (24 October): How To Instantly Become an Iranian Citizen

1845 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. In an interview with the Swiss newspaper NZZ, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has said that everyone in Iran has access to the Internet, and there are daily papers from all political camps.

1835 GMT: No Gratitude for CNN. Back to where we began this morning, with Iran State TV's attack on CNN and Fareed Zakaria....

It appears the cause for the assault was not Zakaria's interview of the President but an accompanying piece he did about life in Tehran. Zakaria was positive about many aspects of life in a Tehran of "order" and "cleanliness" (somehow missing Tehran's extraordinary levels of air pollution and minimising the significance of its crowded roads), but State TV claimed he had spoken of a "dark and gloomy" city. Specifically, he "tried to prove U.S. claims that Iran is under pressure because of the sanctions. In order to do so he resorted to lies".

Indeed, Zakaria, while ignoring issues such as unemployment and inflation, did hone in on sanctions. He said Iranians blamed the regime in part for the situation and indicated that the Western measures had strengthened the grip of the Revolutionary Guards on the economy:

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The Latest from Iran (27 September): Foreign Diversions

1935 GMT: Corruption Watch. More on Mohammad Reza Zonouzi, the "crony" of Ahmadinejad whom Ayande claims may be involved with a fraud much bigger than the current $2.6 billion bank embezzlement scandal (see 1810 GMT)....

Zonouzi reportedly has dozens of companies in Azerbaijan, includig Bonab Steel Company, Tabriz Steel Company, and other large trusts.

1925 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. Prominent conservative cleric Hojatoleslam Jafar Shojouni, who launched a series of verbal assaults on the President;s camp in April, is at it again --- he has told a Lebanese newspaper that the Iranian system agreed behind the scenes to keep Ahmadinejad in power for the last two years of his Presidential term, even though support for him has diminished.

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The Latest from Iran (16 September): Lashings and Travel Bans

See also Iran Snapshot: The Flogging of Somayeh Tohidlou
Iran Feature: Parliament, the Regime, and the Influence of the Clerics

Mohammad Maleki

1900 GMT: Amnesty International has highlighted the case of journalist Faranak Farid, who has allegedly been abused in detention after she was arrested during the demonstrations over the drying Lake Urmia.

Farid was reportedly beaten severely after her arrest on 3 September in Tabriz in northwestern Iran. She has apparently been accused of “insulting the Supreme Leader”, “propaganda against the system”, and “acting against national security”.

According to activist and opposition media, Farid temporarily lost hearing in her left ear and was left unable to move one of her arms after the beatings. She was interrogated at length before a judge ordered that she be detained for 10 days. Since her jailing, her sister has only been allowed to visit her once for 45 minutes. and her requests to see a doctor have not been allowed.

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The Latest from Iran (21 April): The Ping-Pong of Power

2015 GMT: Rumours of the Day (President's Right-Hand Man Edition). Mashregh News says Ahemadinejad confidante Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai is in hospital for diabetes. Fars says he is in good health.

Bottom line: Rahim-Mashai was not with the President on Ahmadinejad's trip to Kurdistan yesterday and today. Any significance?

1400 GMT: International Front. Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Salem al-Sabah has told Al Arabiya that an alleged Iranian spy cell had explosives to bomb "strategic" facilities: "We are talking about a cell whose task was not only to monitor and record the (US) military presence that is in their view hostile --- the American forces presence on Kuwait lands --- but it exceeded that."

The Foreign Minister claimed the cell, revealed last year, "had explosives and the intention to explode vital Kuwaiti facilities. They had names of officers and they had extremely sensitive information. This indicates bad intentions to harm Kuwaiti security."

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The Latest from Iran (14 April): Honouring a Detained Lawyer

A "Free Sotoudeh" Poster With Her Children2050 GMT: Sanctions Watch. The European Union has published the names of 32 Iranian officials who were subjected to sanctions this week. Included are Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi, Iran Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi, and Iran police chief Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam.

2045 GMT: Media Watch. Another curious suspension of a conservative publication --- the English-language site of Tabnak, the outlet of Mohsen Rezaei, Secretary of the Expediency Council and 2009 Presidential candidate, has not updated since 1 February.

Ayande has not published in Persian since 9 March.

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